School network plans in an event of riot/looting and full lose of school network

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I’ve been shocked by the scenes up and down the UK in the last few days with the riots at the work of alleged youths as young as 11.

I’m currently writing a whitepapers on ‘IT Continuity for Schools’ which I hope to release next month which discusses the impact of a scenario where a schools loses all their data, power is lost to the school or a fire breaks out that wipes out the whole school network.

With the riots going on in my home town of Birmingham with the age of some of the students, I am concerned that the youths will take opportunity to attack the empty schools, loot the computers and cause as much mess as possible that will prevent them going back to school in 3 weeks time.

I do hope that this does not happen but wanted to publish some guidance for those who work in schools and if you are not affected by the riots maybe you need to consider this anyway.

In the event of a school fire

Have you considered what might happen if you ever lost all your school data?  Maybe this is due to disk failure, or a server becoming faulty and you have to wait for an engineer from HP or Dell to replace parts.  I guess you’re thinking ‘that’s not an issue, I have my back up tapes’.  So let put some scenarios together that might make you reconsider how your data is stored, backed up, located and restored.

Your server room is located in a secure place in your school, only your team can access the servers, you have air-con to ensure servers are cool.  There are classrooms around the server room but no one can get access so all is good, never had a problem with servers in the server cabinet or any failures.

While packing up a teacher leaves a cooker on in the home economics room by mistake or the science prep staff didn’t quite put the equipment away properly from the last experiment of the day.  Which ever scenario it is, a fire has broken out during the night at the school causing wide spread damage in certain part of the school and has also claimed your server room.  Your data has gone.

So what have you lost?  From a physical network point of view you lost these

  • All of your servers
  • Internet connectivity hardware
  • Networking infrastructure

But of course these run the following services in the school

  • Management Information Systems, student records, staff information, timetable etc
  • Data including personal and shared documents
  • Virtual Learning Platform including learning content, modules and grades
  • Every email every sent in the school

Following all this, here are set of questions to help evaluate your network to get you on right tracks quicker.

  • How often do you perform your back up?
  • Where do you store you back up todays? 
    • Any where near the server room? 
    • Should they be offsite?

Guidance from this blog post

I’m not trying to worry anyone here and you might think that I’m talking a load of rubbish but I felt like I needed to share this and pass on some thoughts, maybe do my thing for the community.

Ensure you have the right backup for any possibility, your data is secure, on site and off site!

There is a lot more to this guidance around data, storing data in the cloud, network infrastructure and cabling and restoring systems as quickly as possible

One thought on “School network plans in an event of riot/looting and full lose of school network

  1. A warning to us all, threat of fires is very real, I’ve known of 2/3 schools with arson attacks by pupils/former pupils. Though not to blame solely our youth, I’ve worked in a school where a member of staff was working in the holidays, she sent a big print job to a small laser printer, it over heated/some kind of fault which caused a fire, the whole block was lost.

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